Grab parks $2B for Indonesia expansion, plans 'affordable' e-healthcare

Funded by SoftBank, the US$2 billion investment plans will see Grab develop an electric vehicle transport network and geomapping services as well as introduce "affordable" e-healthcare services to increase access to medical assistance in the country.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

Grab has unveiled plans to invest US$2 billion in Indonesia where it will look to develop the local digital infrastructure, including an electric vehicle transport network, and introduce "affordable" e-healthcare services. Spanning five years, the investment also will see the ride-sharing company open a second headquarters in the Asian market.

The second site would encompass the company's Jakarta research and development (R&D) centre and serve as a secondary headquarters for its GrabFood delivery business. Funded by current investor SoftBank, the $2 billion would facilitate the digitisation of services and infrastructure in Indonesia, said Grab in a statement Monday. 

It revealed plans to jointly develop, alongside SoftBank, a transport network based on electric vehicles as well as geomapping tools for the local market. 

Grab added that, within the next three months, it would be introducing e-healthcare services that aimed to "significantly" increase access to doctors and medical services for Indonesians, but gave no further details on what these might be. 

It did say that the $2 billion investment included plans for a second headquarters in the country, which would house its Jakarta R&D facility and support its online food delivery business. The site would further facilitate the development of localised features for Indonesian consumers as well as tools for micro-entrepreneurs. Where relevant, these products could be expanded to other emerging markets in Southeast Asia, Grab said. 

Its announcement today came months after it unveiled in April 2019 that it was seeking US$2 billion this year to drive expansion plans in the region, specifically Indonesia. A month earlier, it had secured US$1.46 billion from SoftBank vision Fund, which had been investing in Grab since 2014. The Southeast Asian online platform then said the additional $2 billion, if secured, would push its total capital to US$6.5 billion by year-end, where it was looking to invest in at least six acquisitions across the region. 

Grab CEO Anthony Tan said: "With our presence in 224 cities, Indonesia is our largest market and we are committed to long-term sustainable development of the country... By investing in digitising critical services and infrastructure, we hope to accelerate Indonesia's ambition to become the largest digital economy in the region and improve the livelihoods of millions in the country."

The company said it had invested more than US$1 billion in Indonesia since 2017 and, with the new investment, aimed to help double the number of local micro-entrepreneurs to 10 million in five years. 

Citing figures from CSIS and Tenggara Strategic, Grab said it contributed an estimated US$3.5 billion to the Indonesian economy last year. 


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